According to a 2011 report by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, stroke awareness in this country is dangerously low, especially among women. Yet a stroke occurs in this country every 10 minutes, and it can happen to men and women of all ages. Here’s how to spot the warning signs:
Signs it may be a stroke
These symptoms come on suddenly, and you may not experience all of them.
‘ Numbness, tingling or weakness of the face, arm or leg
‘ Trouble speaking or confusion
‘ Vision problems
‘ Severe headache and/or dizziness
What are the risk factors?
Along with smoking, risk factors for strokes in women under the age of 55 include:
- ‘ High blood pressure or high cholesterol
- ‘ Conditions such as diabetes and lupus
- ‘ Use of birth control pills
- ‘ Migraines with auras
- Clotting disorders can also cause stroke. Women who have had more than one miscarriage, for example, may be at higher risk for blood clots, as are women with a history of leg clots (or deep vein thromboses). The same goes if you have a vascular condition called livedo reticularis, characterized by mottled, purple-red patterns on the skin.